Client Story: Chris Longwill, Mortgage Choice Tea Tree Gully

Client Story: Chris Longwill

Chris Longwill recently decided to make a career change that would allow him more time with his young family while combining three of his passions: people, finance, and property.

With a solid background in customer service, including senior leadership roles at Big W, and working for a brokerage firm, he made the transition from employee to business owner. He established North East Finance Solutions, which he now operates as a Mortgage Choice franchisee serving residents in Tea Tree Gully, Golden Grove, Athelstone and the surrounding area. He offers assistance with both home and car loans, business lending as well as investment loans and refinancing.

“When I first switched from being a PAYG broker to a franchise owner with Mortgage Choice, things were pretty tricky,” says Chris. “I was trying to maintain momentum and continuity of service throughout loan applications while providing customer assistance, running scenarios, giving credit advice and setting up my accounting and business procedures – all whilst managing my family life, with a one-year-old and another baby on the way.”

Still in his first year of trading, his sales have quickly increased, and he managed to double his revenue in the first nine months of business and he’s also hired two admin employees. Year-to-date, he is the fastest growing new Mortgage Choice owner in South Australia and the fifth in Australia overall.

“Transitioning from being an employee to a business owner involves a lot of risks,” says Oreon Senior Manager Lara Alawattegama. “You have to manage not only client relationships but the administration and creditors, as well as your cash flow. This is a steep learning curve for any new business owner, but Chris mastered all these in a very short time.”

Keys to success

“The support I get from my wife and family has been instrumental,” says Chris. “I couldn’t do my job without them. They push me forward and encourage me every day. Of course, I’m motivated to succeed for them, as well, and this job provides rewards and opportunities you just can’t get as an employee.”

He says that his previous work experience also provided a good foundation for him.

“I developed a very strong work ethic and learned a lot while in senior management roles, and that’s a contributing factor to being able to push that extra 10-20% when needed,” he explains.

He advises others who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs to plan carefully.

“You have to make a plan prior to taking the leap,” he says. “Have achievable and attainable goals – don’t go overboard – and align them with how you want to do business in the years to come.”

He also recommends acknowledging achievements along the way.

“If you hit your goals, celebrate them,” he urges. “Give yourself a pat on the back because while being a business owner can be incredibly rewarding and uplifting, it can also be incredibly isolating. You and your team should recognise wins together.”

Oreon’s role in the journey

Chris and his wife Jade have been Oreon clients for over three years. In the beginning, Lara and the Oreon staff provided advice and guidance on making the transition from being an employee to a business owner, including reviewing Chris’ current and future goals for his family, as well as structuring his business to tailor the best option for him while minimising any potential risks. Lara’s team also supported Chris in setting up his bookkeeping and continues to manage ongoing compliance work.

“Becoming a business owner has allowed Chris the opportunity to build his personal wealth while having the flexibility to prioritise his family,” says Lara.

“Lara has certainly shown me the ropes of running my own business and has been incredibly supportive and encouraging,” notes Chris. “With Oreon’s team, I know I’m getting the right advice. You have the power of backing and a wealth of knowledge, and that’s why I chose them.”

Future of the business

Chris expects that his business will continue its growth, but he wants to ensure things are done carefully and systematically.

“I want the business to grow in a sustainable way so that we can continue to provide the level of service we do now to all our customers,” says Chris. “Hiring the right admin, brokers, and assistants in years to come will be key to this, and tightening up our processes now will mean that when we grow, we can copy those processes and use them to our advantage in other areas.”

Learn more about the Mortgage Choice franchise owned by Chris.